The Originals: The Immonens and Innovative Storytelling
More than a few of your favorite Big Two creators have projects that you may not have heard of, depending on how closely you follow their careers. In creator-owned comics, they get to go wild and create a story that springs entirely from their own brow, and I love seeing the results of that. Once a week on ComicsAlliance, I’m going to take a big two creator, talk about why they’re good, and suggest you something original. This week, I want to talk about Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, and the way these consummate professionals create comics that are incredibly original and exciting.
Stuart Immonen has worked on Nextwave with Warren Ellis, New Avengers with Brian Michael Bendis, Superman: Secret Identity with Kurt Busiek, Ultimate Fantastic Four with Warren Ellis, and Fear Itself with Matt Fraction.
Kathryn Immonen has worked on Wolverine and Jubilee with Phil Noto, Heralds with Tonci Zonjic, Runaways with Sara Pichelli, and Patsy Walker: Hellcat with David Lafuente.
Stuart and Kathryn Immonen are two of Marvel’s best weapons. Stuart Immonen has drawn hundreds of great comics at this point, and has a fistful of classics under his belt like Superman: Secret Identity and Nextwave. Kathryn is a more recent find, but she’s already made a splash with books like Heralds with Tonci Zonjic and the unbelievably cruel ending to her run on Runaways with Sara Pichelli.
Stuart Immonen is good at everything. It’s a cliche, sure, but he really is the total package. He not only has several different distinct personal styles, but he’s a style chameleon, too. At the end of Nextwave, he drew in the style of several other artists and the results were not only pitch perfect, but very exciting. He’s incredibly versatile, maybe even the most versatile creator working in comics right now.
Kathryn Immonen is good at scripting comics that aren’t your usual cape comics. There’s a certain swing to her stories that most cape comics writers can’t match. Her stories are different, noticeably different, but not so different that they don’t work as superhero comics. But the asides, dialogue, action, and endings are never quite what I expect, and I’ve been reading these dumb ol’ comics since I was a kid.
When they work together, you get things like this, from Patsy Walker: Hellcat:
Impeccably drawn, a great script, and exposition designed in the style of classic girls comics from way, way back in the day. We need more cape comics willing to do deeply weird things in pursuit of fun storytelling.
Stuart and Kathryn Immonen also created Moving Pictures.
Moving Pictures is a love story set in World War II, most likely in Paris. It stars Ila Gardner, a Canadian ex-pat turned minor museum curator, and Rolf Hauptmann, a man who is a German officer. Part of the book takes place in an interrogation room, as Rolf tries to pull information from an unwilling Ila. Other parts show the events leading up to that interrogation, as love and loss collide and force their relationship to twist into new and unpleasant shapes.
It’s a good read, and one that rewards multiple readings. I expected Kathryn’s swing and Stuart’s always-dependable draftsmanship, but Moving Pictures is something else entirely. It’s quieter than I expected, with the conflict coming on a personal level instead of slam-bang action level. Stuart’s art is different, too. It’s simpler than his cape comics work, at least in terms of line work, and the colors are just start black and white with very little, if anything, in between. Read a preview here, or pick up a digital copy for 9 bucks.
I can’t wait to see what they do next.